[email composed 24 December 2002]
For those of you who've been suffering my rantings and ramblings for a while, you may have been expecting a message in honor of the winter solstice, since in the past I have sent ones about it and the spring equinox, the summer solstice, and autumnal equinox. If you were paying attention, you would have noticed the solstice passed over the weekend. Yes, it's winter, and I didn't tip you off ahead of time.
Eh, I was bound to let you down eventually. Let's move on.
I'm not going to rail against the over-commercialization of Christmas. It is what it is. I bought gifts like everyone else. It keeps the economy going. If you don't think that's important, you obviously don't have a 401k. It is a marketing wet dream when you get down to it, started by three guys following a star, so we can't begrudge capitalism for taking advantage of it. Still, it reminds us that it's pretty neat to give someone something to make him or her happy just because we like him or her.
I'm not going to quibble about the secularization of Christmas. Sure, it has the whole "Christ" thing right there in the name, but we don't pronounce the "t" and we soften the "i" sound when we say it aloud, and if that helps it be something that everybody can celebrate, I'm not sure that's altogether bad. I have friends who are atheists who still exchange gifts with others. I have friends who are Jews and Buddhists who join in on the festivities of December 25th. It's a national holiday, and that opens the door for everybody to join in. Yes, it could be construed as hideously disrespectful of these other religions--because it pretty much is--that their followers must adhere to another's schedule, but it could just as easily be construed as hideously disrespectful of the religion that gave it its name, in that all these others are essentially crashing the party. Somehow we generally seem to overlook this, and at least in my tiny portion of the world, it seems to bring disparate people together when it should divide them further. In the northern hemisphere this is the darkest time of year, and we need something to lift our spirits to see us through to spring. If the Christians are willing to share and the rest of us are willing to go along with it to whatever degree we see fit, and we end up with a celebration that acknowledges our loved ones, that's hardly worthy of derision.
I'm not going to talk about the pagan origins of Christmas again.
I'm not going to recap the past 12 months of my life. First, anyone who knows me grasps that for me to do so would amount to a novel. Second, if I didn't bore you with a message about an event at the time it happened, I'm not going to try to encapsulate it now. (I'm not criticizing those who send out family newsletters in holiday cards. I enjoy reading about what's going on with those whom I don't see regularly. Maybe eventually some holiday in the middle of the year will prompt a similar update from those who are so inclined.) I'm not going to make any promises that I'll be more prolific regarding these messages in 2003; maybe I will, and maybe I won't. I do hope I will be, but I know easy it is for me to lapse back into my lazy, procrastinative ways; I see no reason to set myself up to disappoint you all even more than I undoubtedly will.
I'm not going to wish you "Happy Holidays". No, the phrase appearing in that last sentence was not some clever ironic twist. While I certainly do hope that things go well for you during these last days of the year, I sincerely hope with equal fervor that things go well for you every day. (The people who stopped reading at the end of the first paragraph can have lousy days, however. I ask so little. For cryin' out loud...)
I'm not going to write another paragraph starting with "I'm not...". Don't say I never did anything for you.
You have proven yourself worthy of my respect and admiration and affection (or you are someone whose name made its way into my address book). For that I am genuinely grateful. Please try to not screw that up in 2003.
(e-mail essayist, friend, son/brother/brother-in-law/cousin/nephew, Killer Guppy, Old 97's fan, rider of public transportation, air drummer, and a surprisingly good dancer for white guy)